In fact, reports show that even with less traffic last year, there were more incidents of
distracted drivingthan before the pandemic started—a trend that may carry over into the summer and fall.
Car insurance and the pandemic
While one in four drivers believe roads are safer today than before the pandemic started, according to
Investopedia, that may not be the case. A 2021 Travelers Risk Index on distracted driving showed that many dangerous driving habits increased during the pandemic. This includes:
- Texting or emailing (7% increase)
- Checking social media (7% increase)
- Taking videos and pictures (9% increase)
- Shopping online (9% increase)
Although distracted driving increased last year, car insurance rates decreased on average. According to the
Wall Street Journal, 2020 marked the first national decline in car insurance rates since 2013.
Car insurance rates decreased by nearly 4% on average nationally in 2020 because miles driven dropped 51% during the course of the pandemic.
In addition, many insurance companies offered premium refunds between 15% to 20% a month in the spring of 2020. Some companies also suspended cancellations for non-payment for a period of time and allowed payment arrangements for past due balances. There were even special programs for low-mileage drivers and temporary price reductions put in place.
Increased rate of crashes leads to higher car insurance costs
Research and advisory firm
Assured Researchbelieves that car crashes could rise to pre-pandemic levels or higher as more people commute over the summer—especially after Labor day. When the risk of accidents is higher, it means insurance companies might have to pay out more in claims. These costs are passed along to drivers through higher car insurance premiums.
The research firm pointed out that more people who have been working from home will be returning to the office. The rise in traffic volume combined with bad driving habits developed during the pandemic can lead to an even higher risk of car crashes.
Assured Research also found that speeding and fatalities rose during the pandemic, according to a study by Cambridge Mobile Telematics. Many states are working to reduce distracted driving and other dangerous driving behaviors.
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